TV and radio appearances by Nation writers and editors, big Nation announcements.
This week, The Nation obtained audio revealing Mitch McConnell’s plans to further hinder any impact that Obama could have in the remaining years of his term. During a secret strategy conference, McConnell said of the upcoming spending bill, “We will be pushing back against this bureaucracy by doing what’s called placing riders in the bill. No money can be spent to do this or to do that. We’re going to go after them on healthcare, on financial services, on the Environmental Protection Agency, across the board [inaudible]. All across the federal government, we’re going to go after it.” CNN featured this audio yesterday, as well as McConnell’s Democratic opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes’s response: “I think Mitch McConnell got caught in his 47 percent Mitt Romney moment. I think it shows the extent and the lengths he will go to to pander to his party millionaires and billionaires at the expense of hurting Kentuckians.”
—Hannah Harris Green
“The most I can boast is, I try hard to understand,” Nation contributing editor Stephen Cohen told Thom Hartmann yesterday in an interview about the latest from Ukraine. “There is so much misinformation, whether intended or unintended, coming out of Washington, particularly [out of] Kiev and out of Moscow that a person has to figure out what is true and what isn’t true.” What’s for sure, Cohen said, is that Kiev’s heavy weapons attack on two cities in eastern Ukraine has intensified.
— Alana de Hinojosa
Is Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko getting desperate? Despite Russian convoys to Ukraine’s conflict region, Vladimir Putin and Poroshenko agreed to meet Tuesday, August 27. However, those talks were distracted by Ukraine’s capturing of Russian paratroopers the day of. Listen here as Nation contributing editor and Russian historian Stephen Cohen discusses the latest on the John Batchelor Show.
“The most important political figure in Europe—I think it’s fair to say she is—is coming to Kiev, ” said Stephen Cohen on The John Batchelor Show this Tuesday. Cohen, contributing editor for The Nation and author of Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold Wars, and The Victims Return: Survivors of the Gulag after Stalin, is referring to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s upcoming visit with President Petro Poroshenko in Kiev, which is scheduled for this Saturday. In debating whether Merkel’s position has or has not changed, Cohen asserted, “The fact that she’s going to Kiev is an enormous concession for Kiev. She is coming…but she wants something in return. I have to assume that what she wants in return is for Poroshenko to declare a cease-fire before something happens in the East.”
A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll reports—perhaps unsurprisingly—that President Obama’s approval numbers are at an all-time low. With 60 percent of Americans polled disapproving of Obama’s foreign policy and another 71 percent believing America is “on the wrong track,” The Nation’s editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel appeared on Morning Joe to discuss “how we got here and how we can fix it” with political commentator Nicole Wallace, former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, and political strategist Anita Dunn. Vanden Heuvel notes that this is not the first time Americans have lost faith in political institutions, especially when engaging in foreign affiars: “Americans want to engage with the world but they don’t want to listen to the armchair warriors.”
In his interview with Ian Masters, Nation contributing editor Stephen Cohen discusses the dangerous tensions between Washington and Moscow. Unlike other regional conflicts, Cohen states that the violence in Ukraine “is global…and the destiny of our children and grandchildren is playing out.” Cohen also critiques the Obama administrations lack of statesmanship and diplomacy: “This is [Obama’s] defining moment. This is what Roosevelt called his rendezvous with destiny and [Obama] seems to flee [his] destiny.” As the Washington hawks continue to take incremental action, Cohen asserts that we’re in the “worst American-Russian crisis since the Cuban missile confrontation.”
The recent downing of flight MH17 over Ukraine has received a huge amount of attention from the press, but, according to Nation editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel, neither the mainstream media nor our government are adequately acknowledging the already violent atmosphere that surrounded the crash. On Democracy Now! this morning, vanden Heuvel explained that the tragedy should have presented an opportunity to end violence that she says has already escalated into civil war: “There should be a renewed effort, not to trigger more violence, but to trigger cease-fire, to trigger talks that could end the humanitarian catastrophe in the southeast of Ukraine.”
—Hannah Harris Green
"The shootdown of [Malaysian Airlines MH17] was something we couldn't foresee," Stephen Cohen said Tuesday on the John Batchelor Show. "Historians will look back and say that these nearly 300 souls that died on that plane disaster were the first nonresidential victims of the new cold war." The conflict, Cohen said, has worsened as a result of the Kiev government's bombing and mortaring of two large pro-Russian cities in eastern Ukraine—where scores of civilians, including many women and children, have died. Why is Kiev doing this? And why is the White House going along with it? Cohen provided a plausible (and highly concerning answer): "To bate Russia, Putin, into intervening militarily so that NATO will intervene militarily. And that means, somewhere, someone in a position of influence wants a Russian war with NATO and that means a Russian-American war."
—Alana de Hinojosa
Nation contributing editor Stephen Cohen discussed Russian and American media reactions to the MH17 crash on the Thom Hartmann Program Friday. "Alas, the American mainstream press is saying, essentially…the shoot-down of that commerical aircraft is the fault of Russian President Vladimir Putin," says Cohen, contending that the American press does not adequately address the complex series of events that led to the crash, or its own government's involvement in the catastrophe. In a "mirror image" of the American account, Russian media speculate that the United States is at fault because it empowered Kiev to wage a heavy artillery plane assault on Eastern cities in Ukraine, which in turn allowed rebels access to air defense equipment. According to Cohen, this conflict is part of what he calls the "new Cold War" that has been going on since at least February.
—Hannah Harris Green
There is an ongoing crisis in Ukraine, says Stephen Cohen, and the mainstream media is not doing enough to contextualize the fighting. On Democracy Now!, Cohen explained that when Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine yesterday, American audiences didn’t have the information at hand to understood what brought us to this horrific crossroads. Cohen says, “The people who died, nearly 300, are the first victims, non-residential victims, of the new cold war.”